Two years ago, six men made the decision to become United States Marines. The future Marines had little in common; several were still in high school planning for spring break and their school prom while others worked odd jobs. Most of them did not know what an MV-22 Osprey was.

On Jan. 25, through hard work and dedication, these Marines earned another significant emblem - their aircrew wings. These Marines became the first MV-22 Osprey crew chief graduating class of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron-204.

“I never thought I’d be where I am today,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Stinson, VMMT-204 crew chief and one of the six graduates. “It’s an honor to be one of the first graduates for the Osprey crew chief program.”

“Think of all the people (they) went to high school with,” said Col. Joel P. Kane, VMMT-204 commanding officer. “I don’t care if they went off to Harvard or Yale or Brown or are studying to be a brain surgeon, none of them will probably ever have the responsibility that (these) six Marines will have.”

“Imagine someone saying to you, when you were in high school, you are going to become a crew chief and certify safe for flight the MV-22, an $80 million aircraft. The amount of money and the number of lives, for a high school or college graduate, is a huge responsibility,” said Kane.

Certified as one of the first crew chiefs to graduate from VMMT-204 might seem like a lot of pressure to handle, to the newest crew chiefs it’s just another day in their life in the Corps. The graduation of these Marines is not only a significant event for the Osprey program and the graduates, but also to Marine aviation.

“This is a big deal for us as a squadron. This class is the first that we’ve put through since we have returned to flight last October,” said Kane. “We’re pretty excited about the graduates making it through our current training program.”

A syllabus that took the Marines through a nine-month-long course, the graduates are ready to put their newly acquired skills to the test against the future of the aviation wing, said Kane.

Within the next few months, while three of the six Marines will stay with the ‘Raptors,’ the other half of the graduating class will transition to the future Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-263, which will of stand up in March.

“I’m eager to get out there and join up with my new squadron,” said Lance Cpl. Yauncey A. Long, a future VMM-263 crew chief. “I just hope I don’t let the Marines, my leaders or the Corps down.”